Read faster, dammit

Okay, maybe not this fast:

Ray Kurzweil, a smart guy who talks a lot about what may (or may not) happen in the future, suggests that human beings will develop computerized personal assistants that will be able to read hundreds of millions of web pages in just a few seconds.

Twilight Sparkle is a few seconds ahead of you, Ray:

Although a computerized personal assistant probably should not be the size of a Costco.

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Support your local pony fan

Now here’s a perfectly reasonable question:

I can imagine a Brony scholarship … where maybe I get to give scholarships to the people who drew the cutest fanart or made the fan-drawn comic that made me laugh the hardest. Darn it, why isn’t that a thing?

Well, of course you can make it a thing. But you won’t be the first:

The Brony Thank You Fund is now raising funds to start a permanent animation scholarship to Calarts, the school where such people as Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, and Tim Burton got their start, among many, many others.

It took a little over a year, but it happened:

Pony makes things happen.

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Truth in variety

Not approved by the Staff of Sameness:

[T]ry to remember that 99 percent of the people around you are just people trying to get by. They are like you: all the colors of dirt, from pale dry dust to red clay to dark loam and everything in between. They are gay and straight and not-all-that-interested, religious or atheistic or doubting; they are happy and sad, angry and calm, often opinionated; they are clever and dull, amusing or scary or pitiable. Each one of them has got the same one vote you do and there are no prizes to be won in this life or any other by treating any of them badly.

If all your friends think exactly the way you do, you’re due for some new friends, as Starlight Glimmer has not learned.

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I don’t care if it’s one-way

Then again, it’s almost certainly too early to start packing:

Then again, where would they put an airport? Canterlot’s built onto a mountain, fercryingoutloud: no place for a runway. Cloudsdale? Naw, the planes would just crash through the clouds. Or perhaps that long stretch of nothing southwest of Canterlot on the way to Ponyville…

(Via Equestria Daily.)

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This being Derpy Day

I’m not entirely sure how the first of March became Derpy Day, though Know Your Meme says it was this way:

March 1st has become known as the “Derpy Day” due to a group started on Facebook. It can be celebrated by:

  • Eating muffins
  • Wearing gray
  • Making derpy eyes in mirrors and photos
  • Delivering letter by hand

Or any combination thereof:

Derpy Hooves Logistics by SukiStar

(The original by SukiStar on deviant Art.)

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The Weather Patrol reports in

Record heat yesterday: seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, 2° warmer than the old record, set in 1999. (Then again, it’s February; only last Thursday it dropped into the teens and barely made it above 40 that afternoon.) I got outside and trimmed a holly. Meanwhile, Michael Eberharter went to Quail Springs Mall, specifically to Candyopolis:

Rainbow Dash for Candyopolis

Can’t argue with that, Dashie.

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Subspeciesism

There are, according to Equestrian lore, three pony tribes, or subspecies, or whatever. There are also similarly-configured creatures which are not ponies at all:

And then I thought, wait, there are donkeys … or are they mules? (The show seems to use the term interchangeably, which bugs me ever so slightly, because donkeys and mules are different). And then I got to thinking: wait. If there are mules in Equestria, if they are like the mules that exist in the human world, that would have to mean a donkey and a horse got married at some point and …

Heh. Inter-species marriage. And you thought some people had a hard time accepting inter-racial marriage.

This chap is apparently a mule:

There exists a fanfic in which a dragon and a pony mate, and the offspring has characteristics of both and is accepted by neither.

I caught a fair amount of flak a couple of years ago for suggesting that a pony/human relationship might be possible; I suspect it might be easier, if only for logistical reasons, if both partners are quadrupeds.

And in a couple of places I’ve advanced the notion that despite all these years of Harmony, there might be some lingering inter-tribe resentment, which drew me further flak.

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Wings of wonder

A fellow using the name “PinkiePieSwear” once put together a lovely little bit of electronica called “Flutterwonder,” with visuals sliced from various MLP episodes and a few words of Fluttershy’s sampled for the vocal. And it was, well, wondrous.

Then Ferexes put together a completely new animation for the song using Source Film Maker, relying on no original-series clips at all. And it was, well, just as wondrous:

The last thing I expected, though, was an acoustic — unplugged — version with the lyrics resung. (This is the first time I’ve ever actually understood the words.) Wondrousness is declared:

And this is the one thing I’ve always adored about Fluttershy: her almost-childlike sense of wonder. In fact, considering that she’s presumably the oldest of the Mane Six, this may be closer to envy.

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If I may horn in for a moment

Miss Swift’s experience as a unicorn being somewhat limited, I must point out that it really depends on what you’re used to and what shape your head is in:

DJ Pon3 wearing a headset: I'm all about that bass cannon

(Original by ezoisum.)

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Personalized boilerplate

Six years into the post-Derek Sivers era, CD Baby still retains one of Sivers’ trademarks: the chatty New Release announcement, tailored to your previous purchases. Unfortunately, only so much tailoring can be applied in some cases. This was received yesterday:

We here at CD Baby have got pretty good memories. And we just remembered that at some point in the not-too-distant past you purchased music by Various Artists.

We commend your impeccable musical taste and wanted to let you know that Various Artists has a brand new release out now. It just went live on our website for sale. And we just had to let you know FIRST since you’re one of the few hip and wise people who “knew them way back when.”

At Home cover artThat’s me: the Tastemaker™. If you actually go out to CD Baby, you will eventually find the actual description of the release, which at the moment is download-only — though past performance suggests that a physical disc may eventually be forthcoming. If you’re disinclined to hit the link, well, these are the Various Artists in question:

A relaxing unplugged collection of originals and covers with four great singers (Michelle Creber, Gabriel Brown, Monique Creber & Andrea Libman) performing solos and beautiful harmonies, accompanied by Grammy-nominated pianist, Michael Creber.

Michelle Creber, if you follow these things, is the voice of Apple Bloom on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; those other Crebers are her parents. Andrea Libman voices both Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie on MLP:FiM, though she sings only for Fluttershy: Pinkie’s out of her singing range. Gabriel Brown is the famed brony musician (and skydiver!) Black Gryph0n. The original “I Will Fight For You” was released as a single, which I bought, which explains why CD Baby suspects I might be interested in the whole album; they’ve just turned loose (on YouTube) a cover of the old Jackson 5 favorite “I’ll Be There.” I will eventually get this, of course, but my want list is at the moment overflowing, while my wallet isn’t.

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Like hell

Francis W. Porretto contemplates the distance from right this minute to the end of time:

We have been told very little authoritatively about Heaven, but its nature surely includes release from bondage to Time. Nothing else would be consistent with a state of eternal bliss. Indeed, an immortal sentenced to temporal eternity would find it to be the most extreme imaginable torment. Time is the medium of desire, effort, fulfillment, failure, and mortality; to compel an immortal, unalterable creature to endure it would utterly destroy any delight he might be offered within its folds.

At the very least, said creature might well be bored out of his skull. Several MLP:FiM fanfics have envisioned Celestia, having outlived everypony in Equestria other than her sister, trying to conjure up a way to bring on her own death and get it over with already; canon does not state that the diarchs are in fact immortal, but they do seem to hang around for an awfully long time. (When the series opens, said sister has been banished for the past thousand years, which more than meets my definition of “awfully long time.”)

And I find myself asking: does it become easier to accept the eventual end of your temporal existence when you know it can’t be far away? Should I be able to deal with it better at 61 than I was at 21? Because so far, I’m not.

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My little taggers

Did you see any graffiti in Ponyville? In Canterlot? In Manehattan, for Luna’s sake? So why would you want to see it in Butte, Montana?

Someone tagged a Butte neighborhood with not only the names but the words “My Little Pony.”

It’s unknown at this time if it’s a gang of tweens or a group of “Bronies,” adult men who love the cartoon and toys.

Given the vast quantity of hatred for bronies out there, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that this was the work of self-described brony enemies, trying to embarrass (or worse) the local pony fans.

Police received reports starting Saturday morning of the cartoon names scrawled on a vehicle, fences and garage doors. The majority of graffiti was found on Keokuk and Hancock streets. About six sites were hit.

The monetary damage will depend if the black and white spray paint washes off, police said.

Well, there you go. A genuine fan of My Little Pony would have come up with show-accurate colors for each and every mention.

(Michelle Malkin saw this before I did.)

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On the edge of the Everdead Forest

All eyes are turned to Dallas, no thanks to some schmuck who’s been incubating Ebola, and Nightmare Nights, a My Little Pony convention coming up in the area, answers the question “Would it kill you to attend?”:

The patient was been placed in isolation — separate medical staff, separate water supply, and in-room destruction of all materials — at a hospital just over 30 miles from our convention venue, and remains there today. “Dallas” is a metropolitan area encompassing 9,286 square miles. It’s bigger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Trust us, we are well away from this hospital.

The venue is actually in the town of Addison, at the far north end of Dallas County.

Further reassurance:

We are not altering our plans for Nightmare Nights. Nor has school been cancelled, nor has public transit been altered, nor have any area concerts or sporting events been rescheduled. We know news organizations like to get your attention by talking about epidemics — remember when SARS, bird flu, or swine flu were going to bring the country to a standstill? — but everything here is pretty much normal.

And sneaked into the bottom:

TL;DR: There is no Ebola “outbreak.” However, as the patient reported symptoms on September 26th, we will note that Nightmare Nights is exactly 28 Days Later.

Well played, gang.

(Via EqD. Warning: Picture of Ebola Pony.)

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Mean Equestria girls

When the first Equestria Girls feature arrived last year, I noted that “I’ve already seen Mean Girls.” Nothing in that frothy little film, however, prepares you for the blackened hearts and overwrought costumes of the Dazzlings, whose origin is not from around Canterlot High, but from an Equestrian adaptation of Greek mythology, and whose song can turn anyone’s soul to the Dark Side.

Inasmuch as they didn’t have to spend half the running time explaining things, Rainbow Rocks is a far better film than its predecessor, and while there is the usual wagonload of sight gags and unexpected cameos and fanservice, there’s a nicely unfolded plot (so to speak) paced with precision, and packed with more (and better!) songs. But the best thing here, I think, is the redemption of Sunset Shimmer, once a villain, still working on being accepted as a friend; Sunset is the one character in the humanized-pony universe that is proving to have staying power. (Flash Sentry, maybe not so much.) If they’re going to keep turning out EqG stories at this level and on this budget — apparently Rainbow Rocks was distributed on Blu-ray disk — Hasbro and DHX will have pulled off a remarkable double play with a single set of characters.

We got only the one showing in town; it sold out some time before last night. (I’d ordered an online ticket on Wednesday.) About 10 percent of the crowd was doing some level of cosplay. And everyone duly hung around through all the credits, as they should have. There is, of course, a hashtag: #Ready2RainbowRock.

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Filling in the blanks

While I’m Clark Kenting around here doing the bloggy stuff, my (not all that) secret identity is churning out pony stories. (They’re on the sidebar, in case you’d somehow missed them.) Turns out, there is historical — and religious — precedent for this sort of thing.

(A tip of the tiara to Fillyjonk, who sent me this idea four days ago and probably wondered if I was going to do anything with it.)

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A bargain nearly Faustian

Lauren Faust, among my personal heroines — it’s that whole My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic thing — tells the story of how she got from shy-ish kid to animator at Sony Pictures, and while her CV is packed with all sorts of stuff, pony-related and otherwise, this is perhaps the most pertinent quote:

I started developing cartoons and series for girls. I would pitch shows to executives at different studios, and people would really like the stories and really like the characters, but then tell me, “We don’t want shows for girls.” They were attributing the poor performance of these shows to the gender of the target audience instead of to the quality of the shows. It was like banging my head against the wall; I just couldn’t get through.

Faust says she basically aimed MLP:FiM at her inner eight-year-old girl, which may explain why it was so well received by yours truly, inhabited by an inner nine-year-old girl. Her current project at Sony is the retelling of the tale of Medusa.

(Via Cartoon Brew.)

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The Element of Pasta

The British have long feasted on things like stodge and spotted dick, so I figure Pinkie Pie is a step in the right direction:

You should probably keep cans of this stuff all over town, in case of food emergency.

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Let the stars of Twilight thereof be dark

It has never been any particular secret that you can sing “Amazing Grace” over the theme from Gilligan’s Island. (Or, for that matter, the other way around.) As the phrase goes, four chords, no waiting.

Presumably, though, a line must be drawn somewhere:

In February, I asked if anyone else was uncomfortable with Dan Schutte’s Mass of Christ the Savior (2010) — which appears to be written in a secular style.

Some other Dan should be mentioned: Daniel Ingram, who’s responsible for the theme song to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which a passage in Schutte’s Mass resembles more than slightly.

No, seriously. Listen for yourself.

We have to assume that this was unintentional. Still, it clearly has the power to unsettle.

(Roger Green sent me this. The title is from Job 3:9.)

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If only I knew

Usually I can snap off an answer to these Yahoo! questioners in nothing flat. This one left me baffled:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What is Twilight Sparkle's cell phone number?

I mean, I figure she’d have enough trouble with a landline.

But no, there’s a reason for this:

you know how you can call a phone number and it will be an automated message? I wanted to call the number for my little sister cause she loves My Little Pony, its not half bad actually, so if anyone knows anything, please answer, thanks in advanced.

This I hadn’t heard. And all this time I’d believed her policy was “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

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Making a dew point

Osaka Jack, as his name implies, lives in Japan, but in a part of it with ridiculous humidity levels not unlike what we’re having to endure this week on the Baked Plain. So this My Little Pony fiction idea gets my vote:

Which was apparently a reaction to this:

The only worry is that it might take longer than 22 minutes to clear this mess up.

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